Even ruins are subject to the changes of time and context. History is rarely inert but rather a series of shifting layers. With sites like Angkor Wat, in the Cambodian jungle, the form and function of the place was transformed and repurposed over generations and centuries. In medieval times, the Colosseum in Rome was even used as a stone quarry for new buildings. The past, in other words, is still with us and still evolving.“We all live in a culture that is simultaneously futuristic and ancient,” Meg Jayanth, writer on Sable, points out. Having worked on 80 Days and Sunless Sea, she has experience creating worlds as multi-layered as the one around us. “I mean, think about London: it's both the London Eye and it's Westminster Abbey. I live in East London for most of the year, and it's this weirdly modern landscape that only makes sense when we think about how it was bombed during the Blitz in World War II and rebuilt.”Jayanth hopes to bring this style of layered history to Sable. “At the moment, we're looking at something as ancient as time as a desert encampment and we're turning it over and remaking it from something familiar into something that makes sense for Sable's specific place and time. It's a back and forth, with futuristic norms and technology influencing architecture and environment and all of that feeding back into narrative thinking.”
"We all live in a culture that is simultaneously futuristic and ancient." - Meg Jayanth
Perhaps the most important quality that Sable’s developers share with Moebius and Studio Ghibli is that they trust their audience’s imaginations and place great importance on the power of suggestion. They take the maxim of ‘Show, don’t tell,’ beloved of creative writing teachers, and strip it down to ‘Hint, don’t tell.’This can be seen in two films the aforementioned Moebius is associated with—Alien, which he worked on, and Blade Runner, which he partly inspired with his comic The Long Tomorrow. Both films work partly because so much goes unexplained but hinted at. They have unfathomable depths we cannot help but stare into. Take Roy Batty’s ‘Tears in rain’ speech in Blade Runner. It has such force because we are not shown what it alludes to. To actually see Tannhäuser Gate, a fantastical place yet one with deep folkloric echoes in its name, would inevitably disappoint.The critical failure of a film like Prometheus was partially because it attempted to answer the questions Alien raised (who was the ‘space jockey’? for instance) while the artistic success of Blade Runner 2049 came down to its expansion of the enigmatic quality of the original. Often filling in the gaps comes with the best intentions, not least to give fans what they want, which is a very different thing from what they need. It was the desire and inability to know, the unsatiated appetite, that made these stories seem tantalizing in the first place.
"Making games is basically a lot like doing magic tricks…" -Gregorios Kythreotis